With twelve weeks to go now is the time to begin your 2016 Great South Run training. Twelve weeks is generally considered a good training period and significant progress can be made by training frequently and smartly. The event is considered to be one of the world’s leading ten-milers and attracts elite athletes, alongside charity, club and fun runners. We’re lucky to have such a prestigious race on our doorstep. The atmosphere is electric. Personal highlights for me include running past the band at The Tenth Hole, the Henderson Road crowds with their sound systems keeping runners going at a point where you’re 8 miles in and find yourself running away from the finish line and, of course, running through our historic dockyard.
Here are my top tips for Great South Run training:
Plan and record your mileage. If you’re brand new to running, start with 1-2 miles and look to progress evenly over the twelve weeks.
Wear appropriate running trainers. A gait analysis will ensure you have trainers that suit your running stride and will help prevent injury.
Consider sports therapy. Prevention is always better than cure, and when training hard, I keep regular appointments with fully qualified and experienced massage therapists to ensure my body is ready for the physical demands of training. Adequate stretching, ice baths and regular foam rolling will also help no end!
Keep your training varied. Running at a regular pace 4 or 5 times a week will probably see your progress plateau very quickly. Instead, incorporate the following:
* Tempo runs – shorter distances at a quicker pace than usual.
* HIIT training (High intensity interval training) will see your heart rate fluctuate and will get you both fitter and faster. They can be done with a mix of sprints and rest periods or by using bodyweight exercises such as burpees, jumping jacks and mountain climbers.
* Single leg strengthening: When we run, we’re balancing on one foot at a time. Most of us have imbalances and exercises such as squats and two footed leg presses or jumps can serve to reaffirm them. Instead, incorporate single leg exercises such as hops, lunges and single leg deadlifts.
* Don’t neglect your glutes or core! This is key to avoiding injury and we can train our glutes or core in the comfort of our own homes without any equipment. Try glute bridges and variants of the planks to start with. I highly recommend my clients, especially those running, take regular Pilates classes to strengthen the core and improve flexibility.
* One long run per week is enough! This is the one people tend not to believe! Increase your distance in small increments on a weekly basis running at the same pace each week. This is called ‘race pace’ – make sure you’re fuelled and fresh for it!
* Finally, Take 4-5 days off training prior to race day. Your body will thank you and your race performance will significantly improve.
Personal Trainer Luke Newton can usually be found at SWEAT Southsea headquarters on Haslemere Road. If you would like to know more about SWEAT Southsea then head over to www.sweat.fitness where you can also find their list of classes available. Classes are open to all, there is no membership required.
Photos: The Great South Run